Sunday, July 29, 2012

sunday sayings


I saw this while browsing through Pinterest last night.
The truth in these words gave me a little smack in the face,
woke me up,
and reminded me that no person on this earth is perfect.
although I like to think i am not a judgmental person,
i am also human,
and humans judge.
this is not an excuse.
oh no.
but, it is why I love this little saying so much.

i am human,
and so are you.
you sin,
and I sin.
sometimes in the same way,
and sometimes different.
what gives any of us the right to judge each other?
we are equal.

sorry for getting all heavy on you guys this morning,
just some food for thought to start your week.

---

also, now that i'm home,
i'm thinking about reinstating Sunday Sayings as a link-up.
for those of you new around here,
sunday sayings is simple-
link up any favorite sayings, thoughts, or words of wisdom.
it can also be as simple as an inspiring picture.
it can be funny, sad, or neutral.

would any of you be interested in joining in?

Hope you all have had a great weekend!
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Friday, July 27, 2012

friday's fancies

Hi Everyone!
Happy Friday!
I've decided to link-up this week with the blog long distance loving for friday's fancies.
inspiration for the week?
summer refreshments.
after some thought and browsing,
i found inspiration with flavored water-


Since arriving back in California a little less than a week ago,
I have had to get used to one very unavoidable thing-
the weather.
for the majority of the time I was in Germany,
the weather was cool and mild,
and, usually rainy.
Even in the height of summer,
days were chilly and crisp.
but, Sacramento experiences a different summer.
one that is hot and dry.
flavored water is the perfect way to keep cool and hydrated...



1 / 23456789

I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend, 
where ever you are!
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

the faces of prague

While I was in Prague,
I fell in love with the random people that filled the streets.
and, out of all my travels, 
prague remains one of my favorite cities.

over the centuries,
prague has maintained it's eerie charm-
not yet taken over by modern architecture and clutter.
the people were warm and helpful;
stopping to help me with silly tourist questions,
smiling the entire time.

however, like every other city,
prague is not all glam and beauty.
and, likely, one reason why i loved this historic goldmine so much.

so, what do i do?
i take photos, of course.












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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

moving on

I have been home almost 3 days...
and, I haven't stopped smiling once.
despite the stress of finding work and making money,
life is perfect,
and just as it should be at this very moment.

I plan on indulging in certain things I have missed these past 4 months-
tempah
all things mexican
and cuddles

the strangest thing about being back?
the traffic.
I learned to love driving on the little one-lane village roads while living in germany.
slow moving traffic wasn't caused by too many cars on the road,
but instead by tractors hauling manure and bales of hay away from their fields.
manual car aside,
driving was easy.

speaking of driving, 
I have to say it-
german's really know how to drive well.
we could learn a lot about driving from these masters of the autobahn.
first lesson, 
don't drive and talk on your phone.
just don't.

I also miss the bakeries, affordable wine, and public transport.

but mostly, I really miss the alps.
i was spoiled.
so so spoiled.
and, i knew this the entire time I was there.
after all, i'm not blind.
thankfully, i took advantage of the natural beauty that sat in my backyard,
and spent a lot of time outdoors whenever the rain decided to stop.


i've never loved living in the US more than I do now.
even though a fast food restaurant and gas station is literally on every single corner,
we relish in processed food,
and  our economy is in the dumps,
i love it.
and, i am so happy to be home.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

surprise!

i'm home!

and once again reunited with these two...


things got a little crazy the past few weeks.
mostly, the craziness was all in my own head,
since I just wanted to be home.
and the appeal of traveling for a couple weeks before returning died quickly.
i missed the fiance too much,
and, if i'm being honest, i really didn't want to spend anymore money.
while i know how to travel on a budget,
money is money,
and i need what I have left.

so, i flew home on sunday,
my 26th birthday,
and was met by my other half and two loving fur babies.
and was surprised by a vegan chocolate cake-
the fiance knows me so well.

home has never felt so good.

now that i am back to reality,
i will have to start looking for a job.
honestly, i have no idea what to do?
what jobs, aside from research, are out there for someone with a bachelor's in biology?
anyone in the sacramento area know of anyone hiring?

stress of job and money aside,
i am so happy to be back.
i will miss parts of germany, of course,
but, i know it was time for me to say goodbye.
it was an experience i will never forget.

no regrets. 

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

keepin it real

via

i've been at a bit of a loss for words lately.
and it is one reason why you all have heard so little from me this past week.
in many ways,
i feel a bit paralyzed, stuck.
 or simply like i'm running in place.

i told my host family a week ago that i would be leaving early.
i explained that living in germany,
a place so far from home and family,
isn't the place for me right now.

i am fortunate that they have been so understanding.
after all, they sensed that i was not happy,
that i missed home.
but, since i gave notice,
my need to be home, near the people that really know me,
grows more and more unbearable each day.
meanwhile, time has slowed.
and i feel like i am getting nowhere.

i have no more than two weeks before I will be on a plane,
and on my way home.
talk of apartement shopping and a road trip are in the works.

however, all i know for certain is that,
1. there is an unassembled burrito out there with my name on it, and,
2. lots of cuddle time with the kids and fiance.

I know this is just a temporary period of adjustment,
and anticipation.
I will be back to my normal self soon!

my apologies for the down in the dumps post- again- but, i'm just trying to keep it real. 
Plus, i'll be interested to look back on this a year from now and see how my perspective has changed.


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Monday, July 16, 2012

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Day 10


Manang to Yak Karga

Although we could have easily spent more time in Manang, 
we left after two nights. 
(a decision I now regret, and will not make again)

So, why did we leave?
It's simple- I can't handle rude people.
or people that try to cheat me out of my money.

anyway, i've gotten ahead of myself,
here's the condensed story...

The problem was one of the gentlemen working at the guesthouse we were staying in.  When we arrived, we had asked to see a room (we would always scope out several places to stay before deciding).  Since the rooms were adequate (there was an attached bathroom with a hole in the ground), we decide to stay. We were both exhausted, and wanted to relax.

This nameless individual that showed us the room was working (aka doing absolutely nothing) inside the pastry shop attached to the hotel when we arrived.  After we told him we would take the room, he explained that there would be no rooms available the following night, and so we could only stay one day.  He also notified us that all meals had to be eaten at that hotel.

At this very moment, I couldn't understand how such a large guesthouse could fill with visitors overnight. impossible. But, for me, the bigger issue was being forced to eat every meal there.  Although Manang isn't bursting with options for fine dining, when it comes to food, I don't like being told what to do, or eat.

But, we were tired. And so, we gave in. Our logic, at the time, was to buy several pastries for our breakfast and lunch the following day and take them with us on our little adventure to ice lake.  frowning, and looking very disturbed, this gentleman handed us the room key and resumed his business at the pastry shop.

After settling our things in the room, we heard a knock on the door. 
It was him.
He had returned to inform us that the room was now available for the following night.
it made no sense

fastforward to the next morning-
the fiance and I headed down to the pastry shop to get our fuel for the day. The same man from the day before was there. in the exact same spot. doing the exact same thing.
nothing.
We picked out our pastries, and he calculated the total, 600-and-something rupees.  As he showed us the price, I thought to myself- this can't be correct. It's too much. But, it all happened too fast, I didn't have time to calculate it exactly, so we left.  However, I did do the math in my head as we were walking away, and I realized he had over-charged,
by more than 200 rupees ($2)

I was steaming.

so, I went back. showed him the math on his little calculator thing, and got my money.

The following morning, the fiance and I planned to get our usual breakfast-
pastries and black tea.
When we got to the shop, this same guy explained that items from the bakery did not qualify as eating in the hotel and that if we wanted pastries for breakfast, we would also need to order from the restaurant.
you know, additional, unnecessary food, that we didn't want.

It didn't take long for the fiance and I to decide that it was time to leave this hotel, so we immediately settled the bill upstairs and were on our way.

Due to our experience with this one individual, 
on top of already having to pack up our bags, we decided to just move on.

don't worry, we did get our pastries-
next door.





the spot


Most of the day's ascent took place just as we left Manang.
I was exhausted,
and discovered quickly that my body was in no mood for anything physical.
Our bodies really could have used a couple more days rest,
but, we were on our way.
no turning back.

After a couple hours, 
we came upon a charming little guesthouse with amazing views of Annapurna IV.
We stopped,
ordered tea,
sat at a little table,
and munched on some bread as we admired the views.
I loved this little spot so much, 
I contemplated staying for the night.
why I was in such a rush, I can't seem to remember.
next time, this will be different.

After several more hours, we reached Yak Karga.
We were lucky to find a great guest house with an attached toilet.
I was discovering that, the higher in altitude we climbed,
the more important this becomes.
(leaving the room, and walking to an outhouse outside in the middle of the night, with freezing temperatures is not ideal)

While sipping on my second black tea,
we met Michelle from Ohio.

we were instant friends.

She explained that due to food poisoning,
her group had to leave her behind with her porter*
and continue without her to the pass.

The night passed over tea, fried rice, and rounds of bull shit.
it was perfect.
Little did I know when I woke up that morning,
that I would meet such a beautiful soul
(because really, there is no other way to describe Michelle)

Sometimes, life offers the most unexpected, beautiful gifts.
I am lucky.

*porter- someone hired to carry equipment and bags on mountainous treks (i'm sure there is a better definition, but i'm too lazy to look it up)


Also, I would like to note- 
if it appears I overreacted to the individual mis-calculating $2, I assure you, I was not.  Under normal circumstances, I would have let it pass, especially in such a poor area.  However, this particular person was unkind and dishonest. I did not trust him, nor did he make me feel safe in his presence.  In all reality, he scared me a little.

please find past posts on Annapurna under the tab: travels
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

sunday social link-up, travel edition

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

This Sunday, I am linking up with Neely from A Complete Waste of Makeup
 for, Sunday Social.
It's my first time partaking in this link-up,
and, this week, it's about travel,
since i'm a travaholic (new word?),
I thought I would join in!

This weeks questions:

1. Best trip I've ever been on?
This question is nearly impossible for me to answer, 
since I am so fortunate to have traveled to so many great places.
So, I am going to give my answer in 3 parts...

LAND
death valley, california

I have been to death valley twice, 
and it remains one of my favorite places that I have ever visited.
perfect for hiking and camping,
it has something for everyone.
AND, if you're not up for sleeping in a tent,
they have three hotels in the park.
caution- anytime other than december and january, 
this place is a furnace.
death valley gets HOT.


WATER
komodo islands, indonesia

the fiance and I spent almost a month on the island of flores in indonesia.
about half this time we were on a boat,
scuba diving and sun bathing all day long.
it was glorious.
komodo islands national park hosts some of the most well preserved sea life on our planet,
and was the main reason we made such a long trip there.
it was incredible.

EUROPE
spain

this was my first trip to Europe,
and I shared it with the fiance.
spain remains my favorite european country,
with some of the friendliest people,
and the most amazing food around.
paella and tapas, anyone?


2. Best idea for a girl's weekend trip?
wine tasting.
period.
I have lived in california my entire life,
and I have yet to go wine tasting in Napa or Sonoma.
good thing i'll be moving home next month....

3. Best idea for a couple's trip?
road trip.
yes, there will be arguing,
 and fighting over who will drive next,
but, really, road trips are amazing.
which is why, I am hoping to throw the fiance in the car when I get home
and make the drive up to canada.
mountains, lakes, campfires, and freeze-dried food-
I can't think of anything better.



4. Best vacation on the cheap?
camping.
no hotels, not costly flights, no fancy dinners.
there are so many amazing national parks out there,
that are virtually free to visit.
besides, the shower after days of camping may just be the best feeling in the world.
notevenkidding

via

5. Place you most want to visit?
patagonia
mongolia
galapagos islands
namibia

patagonia, via

6. Vacation necessities?

a camera
and maybe some water
via


thanks Neely for hosting this link-up!


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Saturday, July 14, 2012

changes

I have news for all of you-

August 3rd will be my last day as an au pair in Germany.
By this time, I will have lived in this wonderful country for 4.5 months.
I am not going to provide a list of reasons for my decision,
because it's really quite simple...

It wasn't for me. 

of course, it's always a little more complicated than this.
but, before coming to Europe, 
I told myself I would stay for at least 3 months before returning to the US.
I would really give it a shot.
and, i'm confident that I did just this.
And, while I have truly enjoyed the experience,
in my heart, I know it's time for something different.

Now, this is where it gets complicated-
I have no idea what I want to do with my life, yet.
the only thing I am certain of is that I want a home and babies.
I know this without a shred of doubt.
however, whether or not now is the right time for these things has yet to be decided.

my life has not followed a straight path.
and, I doubt it will for quite some time. 
I refuse to settle with a job I hate,
but instead, I will continue to learn about who I am, 
and what I want.
I am certain that eventually,
my path will become clear.

as long as I have food on the table,
people to love,
and a roof of some kind over my head, 
I will be ok.

As for travel,
this passion will never, ever die,
nor will I ever stop.
I will always daydream about where to go, 
and what to see.
And, while I encourage everyone to travel alone,
it does get lonely.

who knows where I will be next month after I leave Europe.
and, for right now, i'm ok with that.
Tomorrow, I may feel different.
but, that's my life at the moment-
completely uncertain,
a little scary,
and always changing.
I have no plan.
at all-
except to continue finding myself and what makes me happy.



I have no regrets.
none.
moving to Germany was one of the best decisions I ever made.
It was the first time I ever did something completely on my own.
and, it has made me a stronger,
more independent person.

but, it's time to move on,
make the next change.

I am hoping to see a few more places before I leave-
I will keep you all updated.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Prague, Old Town Square


The Old Town Square of Prague was, quite literally, mind-blowing.
ok, not literally,
but this expression definitely suits this history-packed European city center.

Like the bridge,
I also frequented this part of Prague often,
usually several times each day I was there.
I was not the only one,
the other tourists liked it too,
and I found that walking in this area was slow and difficult.
The thousands of other people, all around me,
did not take away much from this place, however,
and, I still can't imagine a more beautiful place so rich with history.
(and, though I have not seen all of Europe, Prague is still my favorite)

Týn Church- work on this church started in the14th century in the late gothic style. By the beginning of the 15th century, work on this church was nearly complete- with only the towers, gables, and roof missing.  These missing pieces were completed by 1511.  In 1679, the church was hit by lightening.  The fire resulting from this strike heavily damaged the old vault and was later replaced by lower baroque vault.


Astronomical clock- first installed in 1410, it is the third oldest astronomical clock in the world, and the oldest one still working.  I will be completely honest, I have no idea how it works.  However, based on the loads and loads of people gawking at it all day long, I assume it's a pretty big deal.




 















There is not one part of Prague I did not enjoy. 
honestly, it was that amazing.

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